Naturally, this post isn’t going to help everyone. We all have different things that make us feel better, give us strength and help lift us out of the dark little corners of our brains. But I wanted to put together a guide, a Hannah Gale guide, for making your day a good day, even when your brain has other plans.
Everything can feel so plain sailing, so easy, so normal, and then bam hi I’m a wave of period hormones – or even worse, hi bam I’m a low mood with no explanation. Am I depression? I dunno, you hun, will have to wait around to find out.
This isn’t a checklist for a bad mood – for days when someone’s utterly p’d you off or your bank balance is sobbing, it’s for days when you feel low. For days when the only option seems like lying on the sofa and staring at the wall until your cats find you and start eating your corpse.
Lol. But not lol because those moods feel like you’re trapped inside your own body and they are the worst. They feel inescapable.
Anyway, here’s what helps me…
I don’t know if it’s a psychological thing rather than the big, juicy shot of caffeine, but there’s something about a big mug of coffee that instantly makes me feel like a sassy girl boss.
Often just actually getting up, moving from your chosen hibernation spot, is the biggest hurdle when one of these moods strike. Don’t put a big ol’ wad of pressure on yourself to get up and do anything ground-breaking. Just make yourself a coffee and come straight back.
Goal one: Succeeded.
I don’t know why a shower is different to a bath here, but it is. A bath almost feels like an excuse to lie and continue floating about in your own thoughts, whereas a shower feels like an activity with a purpose. And you need purpose, something that makes you focus on the task at hand, rather than your head.
Shower, shave your legs, use too much shower gel because what’s life if you can’t treat yo’ self. Moisturise. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Floss. Make yourself feel pampered, fresh, clean – quite literally the sparkliest version of you. Even if inside you feel the opposite.
3. UPBEAT MUSIC
As much as you’d love to just get back into bed and cry into every song Adele’s ever written, it *might* not be your smartest move. Blast the house, or your room, with feel-good, upbeat music.
When I’m struggling to work or feel like a big ol’ sofa lump, I put on KISS or KISSTORY in the background and it instantly gives me an injection of get up and go and makes me feel like maybe, maybe, I can do this. Let’s be honest, when are Justin Bieber, Pitbull and Little Mix ever going to make your mood worse??
4. FIND YOUR GO-TO OUTFIT
Clothes wise you want something comfy, but something that doesn’t make you feel like an ogre. It’s OK to go for trackie bottoms if they’re your favourite trackie bottoms. Life’s too short to wear the too-small ones with the chocolate stains that just don’t fill you with joy.
I won’t lie, I have an ancient pair of Nike running leggings with a hole in the leg that I swear by. There’s something about wearing gym wear about the house that instantly makes me feel like a bit more of a go-getter.
Don’t try and be sassy and put together a new fun outfit for Instagram. Heck, don’t even look in a full-length mirror if you can help it – when your mood is in the place it’s at, it can be extra analytical and critical and you will tear yourself apart even if you look like a 12950354753 out of 10. Don’t give your mind the chance.
Another one of my fave just throw on and go pieces is this Mango dress which you’ve all seen 73467 times before. It’s light, it’s flattering, it doesn’t give me a nip slip and most importantly – I can sit cross-legged with ease.
5. HAIR AND MAKE UP
I’m not saying get dressed up like you’re about to slam your way through five Wetherspoon’s pitchers, but make yourself feel like you.
I feel like a fraud if I haven’t sprayed half a can of dry shampoo into my roots and put a few random curls in my hair. OH and done my eyebrows. Stick to your every day basics, don’t try and master the natural daytime smokey eye, your brain is not ready for that one, boo.
And if you’re like I CAN’T DO THIS, THIS IS TOO MUCH, change the music over, make yourself another drink – maybe a tea, maybe a cold can of Diet Coke if you have a HG-sized obsession. Focus on the task at hand.
6. BASIC TIDY UP
If the house feels too meh, I can’t concentrate. I can’t even look at my laptop or be a productive princess when there’s things just lying about not in their proper place. A full house clean can feel like such a mountain when your mind’s not there, but do the basics – the washing up, making your bed, OH or even doing that thing where you put all your mess into one pile when you really cannot deal with putting it away.
Not only will you feel calmer inside because AH less mess, but you’ll get a little burst of I AM NAILING TODAY AND LOOK HOW FAR I’VE COME IN THE LAST HOUR too. Buzzin’.
I mean, you might have needed food earlier on, but for me a low mood means this anxious butterfly sensation in my belly that is all like nuh uh hunny, you don’t want to eat.
Here’s where you need something middle-ground. Something quick and easy and yet comforting. Something that will give you energy but not leave you feeling like a sloth-hippo hybrid. I propose scrambled eggs. I’ve got something to admit here: I quite like them with peas and chilli and parmesan and I’m not even slightly sorry.
8. GET OUT THE HOUSE
I guess what you do out of the house depends on how you’re feeling at this point. If you’re still feeling like a 0 out of 10 on the mood scale, just take yourself for a 15 minute walk and come home. Get the fresh air, get your body moving, but don’t put pressure on yourself when you’re not there yet.
You could also meet a pal for coffee and cake, because let’s face it, other people can be a great distraction from your own mind, or if you can afford it, maybe a little manicure of pedicure because there’s minimal effort required but hey look you’re not on the sofa anymore.
9. SET A SMALL GOAL
Maybe you have something you’ve been meaning to send at the Post Office for a week, maybe you need to reply to a handful of emails, maybe you need to put all your DVDs back in their boxes, or maybe you want to do something bigger – write a blog post, do a gym class, clean the bathroom.
Do one thing that makes you feel like the day has had purpose and been a success.
10. THE REST IS UP TO YOU
I can’t tell you how to feel, or how much of your life to conquer in one day, it’s up to you to accept when things are too much and to give yourself time to recover and heal.
If you feel like a champion and feel like you could tackle another task or goal then GO GO GO, but there’s no shame in saying, jolly good show, I’m off to chill on the sofa.
Light a candle, get your fave blanket, make a hot drink and find something sexy on Netflix. Downtime is just as important and getting things done and only YOU know your limits and how much you can handle. You got this, girl.
I hope this helps just one person. Let me know what else you’d add into this checklist to help maneuver yourself from a low mood to an OK mood.
Oh and P.S. the cute NYC skyline mug is from H&M.